Explore the most popular paddle sports trails in Iowa with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I used to come fishing here quite a bit.. sad to see the lake is gone. There are some other smaller ponds around the trails I noticed. In terms of hiking, the trails are pretty and variable, though can be tricky to spot at times off the gravel paths / roadways.

Nice prairie land and pond. Well paved and little to no elevation change. A nice simple course.

trail running
3 months ago

My favorite trail to run in Ames!

Great trail! Scenery was nice with winding paths, bridges, rock formations and the large body of water visible throughout most of the trail. Looking forward to hiking this trail again! Great trail for Hawkeyes to visit when they need a few hours of relaxation!

One of the best trails for trail running with a canine companion - trails are wide enough for both of us and we love the trees and lookout points over the water. So pretty!

Well maintained grass trail that would be great to take pups out on. I made the mistake of wearing my gym shoes and wish I would have worn shoes that could get muddy. A few spots were rough but overall a flat and easy walk along the (dried up) river. This trail comes out at the highway so about 1/4 mile is paved cement. Your start and finish is at the campground, which is small and quiet. The Cardinal Flower trailhead, which is .8 miles is also at this trailhead. It too, is an ok grass path. I enjoyed this walk in the woods but probably wouldn’t make a special trip unless I was here to camp. Happy hiking, folks!

Loved the rolling hills and dense forest. Nice unpaved trails for hiking and well marked. Loved the views of the lake from bluffs above. Close to Iowa City. Will definitely come back when in town next.

6 months ago

Nice kept trail!

Nice pet friendly trail. Plenty of tree cover most of the way. Can be a busy trail.

nice scenic trail, wooded areas but also opens up. Easy walk and hardly any hills.

No lake there, which was sad. Otherwise, super pretty field and tons of flat trail to hike.

I walked this trail with my aunt who was fighting pancreatic cancer at the time. It is a nice, easy, and family friendly trail. Check out the PurpleStride walk that is held here every year.

Great views of the river. Saturday late morning hike was fairly busy.

horseback riding
8 months ago

This is an equestrian trail. The lake is pretty, but equestrian trails do not make good hiking trails.

It's a really good trail that I would do again very soon. Easy

Easy, well maintained, stroller accessible, great for kids.

Well maintained trail system. Easy to find and parking for about 15 cars. Some elevation change but not difficult at all. Beautiful views of the river.

10 months ago

Multiple short out-and-back trails to different overlooks. Canyon is pretty, good views, partial timber partial prairie

11 months ago


Great little loop through the forest and along the lake. Can be busy during warm and holiday weekends. Great for a quick hike if you live in the area

Very pretty view of the lake and some fun locations to do a little climbing.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The scenic overlook was so beautiful but it was confusing to find the trails. The sign looks like you should go right, but you need to go straight. The view is worth it. Could someone please tell me how to get to the caves? Also I see pictures of people kayaking here. Where do they get the boats into the creek?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Easy paved trails with scenic prairie

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nice trail! On a recent weekday there was enough traffic that I didn't feel isolated, but not so much that I couldn't enjoy the surroundings.

road biking
Friday, September 09, 2016

Beautiful view at the top

Sunday, September 04, 2016

We pulled into the lot and noticed it is a public hunting area. There were two truckloads of men and some had semi-automatic guns. Needless to say we did not hike as it didn't feel safe at all!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy trail that is paved.

After my first time, I will be back! Peaceful and under crowded. There is plenty of trail to walk a different route and discover new things each trip. Very satisfied.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

There are some cool places here. The southern trail, through the canyon, is beautiful and unique. And the scenic overlook is gorgeous (but treacherous, with no railing of any kind). There are far more than 2.5 miles of trails here. Some are out and back spurs. We hiked nearly everything, and came in at just about eight miles of total hiking. My biggest criticism is that 90% of the trails are mowed paths. Fortunately it was cloudy (and then rained after we finished).

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